China Tariffs Put Big U.S. Projects at Risk: Solarbuzz

Santa Clara, Calif., August 4, 2014—More than 3 gigawatts (GW) of the projects currently in the US photovoltaic (PV) project pipeline had been set to use Chinese modules, according to the latest NPD Solarbuzz United States Deal Tracker; however, with the recent anti-subsidy and anti-dumping rulings proposed by the US Department of Commerce, companies may have to find other suppliers or potentially pay higher prices for those modules.

Approximately half of the US PV project pipeline is composed of ground-mount systems—many of them large-scale. While traditionally these have been attractive due to economy of scale savings, many could face challenges, in the form of cost increases stemming from the US trade investigation.

“Large-scale ground-mount PV installations are particularly vulnerable to cost increases and potential disruption, as many have signed power purchase agreements at aggressive rates,” said Michael Barker, senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. “Any increase in cost for the projects could mean renegotiation, delay, or even termination.”

Despite the recent trade announcements, the total market demand and the size of the project pipeline continues to grow in the US, indicating sustained interest from project developers working in the market. The US solar PV project pipeline is now approaching 50 GW of commercial and utility projects.

The US project pipeline is led in large part by California, but Nevada, North Carolina, Arizona, and other states now also have multi-gigawatt project plans. There is also increasing interest from states that have not previously seen significant solar activity, such as Utah and Minnesota, but have recently realized project announcements for several hundred megawatts (MW) of new solar PV installations.

Figure: Location of Projects in the US Pipeline with Chinese-Sourced Modules

pie chart of location of pv projects in the us pipeline

Source: NPD Solarbuzz United States Deal Tracker, August 2014

“Solar PV is rapidly becoming more cost-effective as a power generation source,” saidChristine Beadle, analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. “Project developers are swiftly adapting to new market dynamics and are driving strong growth, especially in community and carport systems, but this growth may be interrupted if any external factors increase prices significantly.”

For more information about the NPD Solarbuzz United States Deal Tracker, contact Charles Camaroto at 888.436.7673 or 516.625.2452, or e-mail for more information.

About NPD Solarbuzz
NPD Solarbuzz, part of The NPD Group, offers MarketbuzzSolarbuzz Quarterly, and annual downstream photovoltaic (PV) market reports, providing the solar energy and PV industries with global historical and forecast data for the PV supply chain. For more information, or follow us on Twitter at @Solarbuzz. 

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group provides global information and advisory services to drive better business decisions. By combining unique data assets with unmatched industry expertise, we help our clients track their markets, understand consumers, and drive profitable growth. Practice areas include automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, entertainment, fashion, food/foodservice, home, luxury, mobile, office supplies, sports, technology, toys, and video games. For more information, visit and Follow us on Twitter at@npdtech and @npdgroup.

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One Response to China Tariffs Put Big U.S. Projects at Risk: Solarbuzz

  1. Will Wilkin Reply

    August 7, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    The US “solar industry” is fast descending to an unpatriotic import installation business with no concern for the future of American manufacturing. These anti-dumping tariffs are a tiny set in the right direction. What America really needs to stop the destruction of our domestic industries by the flood of imports is to replace the Free Trade policy with a Balanced Trade policy that limits our imports to the same value as our exports.

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